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September 26, 2017

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A first look at the Cabinet's 2018 budget proposal

Infrastructure projects, anti-drug campaigns, elderly care and the "New Southbound Policy" get a sizable boost in funding in the Executive Yuan's budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year.

According to the plan, the government's annual revenue will increase by 2.7 percent year-on-year in the 2018 fiscal year to NT$1.8904 trillion, while its expenditures will slightly increase by 0.6 percent to NT$1.9850 trillion.

The government will raise its debt to cover the NT$94.6 billion shortfall (which dropped 28.8 percent compared to fiscal 2017) as well as NT$79 billion in debt repayment.

The largest share of central government spending will go to social welfare projects, which will account for NT$490.2 billion, followed by education, science and culture (NT$402 billion); defense (NT$320 billion); and economic development (NT$245.4 billion).

The budget set aside NT$3.26 billion for the prevention of drug abuse, representing a whopping 177.7 percent increase compared to last year.

The government plans to spend NT$33.9 billion on elderly care, an 89.9 percent jump year-on-year. NT$1.6 billion of this is directly listed in the budget and NT$32.3 billion is earmarked as a Nonprofit Special Fund.

The plan also allocates NT$164.3 billion to infrastructure projects. That -- combined with the budget for river management, the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Plan and an amount allocated under Nonprofit Special Funds -- takes the total infrastructure-related budget to NT$$379.1 billion.

Budget for the "New Southbound Policy," the government's project to explore the Southeast Asian market, surged by 97.6 percent year-on-year to NT$3.82 billion.

The Cabinet's budget proposal requires approval by the Legislature to come into effect.

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